JACK VINEY’S vital tagging job on Gold Coast superstar Gary Ablett in Melbourne’s win over the Suns on Saturday has drawn praise from coach Paul Roos.
Viney held the prolific midfielder to 19 disposals in the 26-point win, the Demons’ first round one victory since 2005.
Viney’s tagging job (with help from Colin Garland when Ablett pushed forward) proved critical, as the Suns skipper battled to impose himself in his first game since dislocating his shoulder against Collingwood in July last year.
"We know Jack can win the ball inside but playing on a guy like Gary is a great opportunity to understand where the ball's going and [for him to be able to] read [his] opponent," Roos said after the match.
"(We're) trying to develop Jack's all-round game and I thought he was really good today."
Following a pre-season focused on improved ball movement, Melbourne broke the 100-point barrier for the first time in Roos’ coaching tenure.
Melbourne’s recruits played a decisive role, with ex-Magpie Heritier Lumumba, Jeff Garlett (Carlton), Jesse Hogan (debut), Angus Brayshaw (debut), Aaron vandenBerg (debut), Sam Frost (Greater Western Sydney) and Ben Newton (Port Adelaide) all impressive.
Roos singled out Garlett and Frost's forward pressure as the impetus for helping create scoring chances.
"The boys from other clubs really fitted in exceptionally well and the first-game players all did their bit when they had to," Roos said.
Hogan's ability to create a contest did not go unnoticed by the Melbourne coach.
The 20-year-old key forward finished his first game with 15 disposals, seven marks and two goals.
"The ability not to get outmarked was really important which gave our smalls the chance to put pressure on and crumb goals," Roos said.
"As the game wore on you saw that he got to clunk some marks. He's a competitor which I love and he's really fit which makes it easier for him to keep working through games.
"He certainly worked his way into the game and the goal he kicked late was pretty important."
Roos added that having former skipper Jack Grimes, Matt Jones and Max Gawn – who were mainstays in 2014 – as emergencies for the game against the Suns emphasised the Demons' improved depth.
"We want to get all our players up to a standard where they can play AFL footy," Roos said.
"There's still some really important players that aren't playing for us so we need to make sure we coach them hard and get them up to a level where they can perform regularly like we did today."